This post might upset some of you who are convinced that the violence towards animals which leads to their death so that you can enjoy the palate pleasure of their flesh and remain the living tomb of these once sentient creatures is a separate issue to humanitarianism.
For those of you who are vegetarian and vegan and by virtue of that fact deeply concerned about justice for all sentient life including humans, this post should bolster your position and give you definitive defense against the naysayers who try to ridicule our beliefs with the pointed argument that we only care about animals.
“What about the starving children in Africa or the homelessness right here in our town?” they protest through mouthfuls of flesh as blood and gruel drool from their oral orifice and their bulbous belly an obese grave of the murdered cruel.
No my friends, just as environmentalists cannot beat the drum of climate change while still munching on chicken even if free range, so too humanitarians cannot completely embrace the welfare of humanity when they dine on death and dismemberment.
Today we set the record straight. Vegans and vegetarians are the truest and most honest humanitarians, and I’ll prove it too. For reals.
Time to put down the bottle of blue pills my friends and take a dose of the red reality. No longer can we bask in the schizophrenic sun of our disjointed compassion declaring our love for fellow man when we are deafened by the silence of the lambs’ screams.
Let’s take a look at exhibit A. Before you, honored jury members is the story of little nine year old Mary Ellen Wilson from that worst of tenements in New York – nay the country (at the time) – Hell’s Kitchen. Mary’s guardians mercilessly beat and abused her.
Religious missionary to the poor Etta Wheeler tried to rescue her. Wheeler consulted the police who declined to investigate (nice job). Frustrated by the lack of laws to protect children, Wheeler contacted the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the founder Henry Bergh intervened.
The story ends well for Mary Ellen Wilson formerly known as Mary Ellen McCormack. She was spared returning to that abusive home but ended up at a negligibly better orphanage before finding respite from being raised by Etta Wheeler and Etta’s mother and sister.
In fact, it was animal welfare and protection legislation and those societies that were used as the templates for the child protection legislation that was to come.
In fact, according to Merriam Webster’s definition of humanitarian, the earliest documented use of that word was in 1844. This is one year after the founding of the precursors to the first Vegetarian Societies, the British and Foreign Society for the Promotion of Humanity and Abstinence of Animal Food. See how their name has both “humanity” and “animal” in it. Telling isn’t it.
It is the thrust of my argument that you cannot be a true and honest humanitarian if you are indifferent to the suffering of animals. In fact, taking Merriam’s very definition of humanitarian as: a person promoting human welfare and social reform, wouldn’t it be in the interests of humanity that we reform the barbaric treatment of animals, and that in fact we work towards ending all violence whether to humans or to animals.
Many great thinkers and scholars have eluded to the fact that as long as their is violence towards animals there will always be violence towards people. The 2 are joined links in a chain of suffering and discord.
Do not misunderstand, I am not claiming that vegetarians and vegans are inherently better humanitarians but to suggest that veganism is a one issue ideology is to miss the point. Vegetarians and vegans are truer humanitarians. Caring for all sentient life. Indeed, most of us wish and work for a life free of suffering and needless violence towards any sentient life.
So the next time someone tries to use the strawman argument that veganism or vegetarianism is only about animals and that we don’t care about humans, well, set them straight. Give them the red pill Neo.
Let’s crank up the heat in the kitchen!